- This event has passed.
Sybil Ludington’s Ride – April 26, 1777
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 26 of April, repeating indefinitely
On April 26, 1777, Sybil Ludington rode her horse, Star, 40 miles (64 km) through the night in Putnam County, New York, to warn approximately 400 militiamen under her father’s command that British troops were planning to raid Danbury, where the Continental Army had a supply depot. On her way to gather her father’s troops, she warned people asleep in their homes by banging on their shutters with a stick and yelling “The British are burning Danbury!”
Sybil’s father had fought in the French and Indian War, and he volunteered to head the local militia during the Revolutionary War. Sybil had to move from town to town following her father, and unknowingly played an important role in the success of the American colonies in their revolution. During the raid, the supplies of the Continental Army were burned, although casualties were low on both sides, thanks in part to the actions of Ludington. Little was told of Ludington’s ride; the only record of this event was written by her great-grandson and her father’s memoirs which were published in 1907 but written 100 years earlier on page 90. Her ride started at 9 p.m. and ended around dawn mostly along present day route 6, route 52 and route 32.
Prior to her famous ride, Sybil saved her father from capture. A Loyalist named Ichobod Prosser and 50 other Loyalists tried to capture her father, but Sybil lit candles around the house and organized her siblings to march in front of the windows in military fashion, to give the Loyalist the impression that troops were guarding the house. The Loyalists fled.
She rode a total of 40 miles (64 km) in the hours of darkness, through Carmel, New York on to Mahopac, then to Kent Cliffs and Farmers Mills, and finally back home. She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She returned home soaked with rain and exhausted, but most of the 400 soldiers were ready to march. The American militia arrived too late to save Danbury, but they were able to drive General William Tryon and his men to Long Island Sound. Ludington was congratulated for her heroism by friends and neighbors and also by General George Washington.